World History 1900 Part 1

About the history of the world in 1900, the Paris Exhibition World's Fair is held, King Humbert of Italy is assassinated, and the Boxer Rebellion is suppressed in China.



* On 336 acres in Paris, the Paris Exhibition registered the state of civilization as it entered the new century. Although it drew the largest attendance (47 million) of any world's fair up to the time, total gate receipts still fell some $5 million short of the cost of the extravaganza. And the whole thing nearly blew up into a fiscal fiasco if the following story, said to be taken from the top secret records of the Paris Police Dept., is to be believed. It seems that a young recent widow of a British colonial officer in India arrived in Paris from Bombay, accompanied by her mother, to sign some papers relating to her late husband's estate. She checked into one of the few Parisan hotels not already booked solid with patrons of the fair. As the two ladies settled into their double room 342, decorated with rose wallpaper, the mother felt ill suddenly and lay down to rest. The daughter quickly summoned the house physician, who pronounced the woman very sick and sent the daughter off across town for medicine while he attended to the ailing woman. The daughter dutifully picked her way through the jammed streets of Paris, crossed to the Left Bank, secured the medicine, and returned some four hours later. "My key, please," she demanded of the clerk. The clerk looked at the young lady quizzically and told her that she must have his hotel confused with another, for she was not registered there. Double-room 342? It had long been occupied by another client. A room with rose wallpaper? There was no such wallpaper in the hotel. The house physician, too, professed never to have laid eyes on her before. What was going on? Was she going mad? Not at all. It seems that the doctor had diagnosed her mother's condition as the dreaded black plague, apparently contracted in India. Rather than watch Paris empty out, the hotel management had conspired with police and nervous exposition officials to suppress the news of the woman's condition and her death soon thereafter. And they had hastily redone her room. The poor girl is said to have returned to England with neither husband nor mother, her peace of mind, perhaps her sanity, sacrificed to a massive official cover-up designed to protect a $27 million investment.

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